What is Fibromyalgia?
One of the conditions which may occur following osteoarthritis is fibromyalgia. Learn about the symptoms of this condition and what can be done to diagnose and treat it.
It is estimated that over 12 million people in the U.S. suffer from fibromyalgia. Of this high number, the vast majority of victims are women. In fact, studies have shown that women are ten times more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than are men. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you will probably have many questions concerning their situation. By being well-informed regarding the facts of fibromyalgia, you could have a better chance of successfully treating this painful disease.
What exactly is fibromyalgia? It is defined as a musculoskeletal condition that usually occurs after the victim has suffered from osteoarthritis. Arthritis occurs when the joints are inflamed and osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage in the joints begin to break down. Cartilage covers the ends of the bones and is important because it allows the bones to move without creating friction. When this cartilage becomes so stiff that it breaks easily, the victim is suffering from osteoarthritis.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia show how it is connected with osteoarthritis. Fibromyalgia can lead to pain throughout the body as well as certain areas which are more tender to pain than others. The individual will also suffer from a lesser tolerance to pain and can be so tired that it prevents them from living life normally. Due to all of these symptoms, victims often suffer from depression or anxiety on top of that. Those with fibromyalgia are often unable to sleep well. Their muscles feel as though they have been exercising even though they have not. The muscles may also twitch involuntarily and burn. Other symptoms include headaches, pain in the abdomen, irritable bowel syndrome, and tingling in the extremities.
With this being said, fibromyalgia is a very difficult condition to live with. How can a doctor test and see that this is what you are suffering from? First of all, there is no laboratory test which can definitively say that fibromyalgia is what the person is suffering from. A doctor will perform a thorough examination of the patient and listen to the symptoms. If they are able to rule out other conditions which the symptoms could be pointing to, they will diagnose fibromyalgia by default. Medical professionals need to be very careful when diagnosing fibromyalgia since there is not a test which can say for sure what the victim is suffering from.
Once fibromyalgia has been diagnosed and other possible conditions ruled out, the doctor can begin to help treat the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. As there are a range of symptoms which a victim of fibromyalgia may be suffering from, there is no one treatment which can successfully address all of these symptoms. Rather the individual will most likely have to use different medicines, exercise programs, and more in order to live with this condition. The three drugs which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Association are Savella, Cymbalta, and Lyrica. Massages may help to keep muscle pain under control and regular exercise is also recommended.
In cases of fibromyalgia, there are several opportunities for medical malpractice to occur. From misdiagnosis to failure to treat to a medical error, negligence in these cases can cause the victim to suffer even more. In order to prove medical malpractice, the first aspect that will have to be shown is that there was a doctor-patient relationship. For example, asking someone for medical advice in an unprofessional capacity does not constitute malpractice. Another aspect that will have to be proven is that the doctor who treated the patient did not uphold their duty of care and this led to the injury. For more information, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney for help.